Next Generation Autonomous Suburbs Cooperation with the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU)


  • Alam M Berger, MIT
  • Tigran Haas, KTH

Autonomous driving (AD) and other automation technologies (AT) are rapidly emerging that will likely prove to be far more transformative to our ways of living, creating fundamental changes to society and the physical form of cities. These changes include radical new land-supply equilibriums, widespread flattening of the housing cost curve, and increased access to mobility by economically disadvantaged communities, the elderly, and those with reduced physical mobility.

The image of mobility in urban areas increasingly is one of more density, congestion, parking shortfalls, and overburdened mass transit systems. Removing human drivers from the mobility equation allows for a radical rethinking of how we use highly inefficient paved surfaces of cities, including parking lots, streets, driveways, garages, refueling stations, and many more. Recent research has demonstrated that a parking lot for autonomously parked vehicles could accommodate the same number of vehicles in 62% less space.

Directed Research: Next Generation Autonomous Suburbs
The MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is a premier research center focused on the design and planning of large scale, complex, 21st century metropolitan environments.

Research currently underway, is developing widely applicable parametric rule-sets for land-use conversion (from existing to AD) based on future
programming projections and land-use conversion processes. These metric rules for AD futures will be applied using urban modelling, to predict and design outcomes for metropolitan land uses.

This research will develop a rigorous and comprehensive vision for AD metropolitan areas,
one that considers all land-use types, and includes the integration and phasing strategies needed to unlock the wide-ranging benefits of a fully autonomous AD and AT future.

Evening view of a city (bird view perspective)
Belongs to: Centre for the Future of Places
Last changed: May 04, 2020